:: Daniel McFadden :: Unsolved Murder :: 1998 ::

DETECTIVES hunting a killer who battered a pensioner unconscious before setting him on fire, have made a fresh plea for help on the 10th anniversary of the murder.

Daniel McFadden, aged 66, was brutally killed in his home on June 18, 1998.

His badly burned body was discovered in the remains of his second floor council flat in Mere Gardens, Halliwell.

He had been buried by items of furniture and clothing in an attempt by the killer to conceal his body.

Despite an extensive inquiry including dozens of detectives and thousands of hours of police time, his killer has never been found.

The case has never been closed - and in a bid to breathe fresh life into the inquiry, the detective now in charge has issued a plea for help.

Detective Superintendent Ian Foster said: "Daniel was violently assaulted and left to die in the most horrendous way.

"He was a 66-year-old man who originated from Ireland but had lived in Bolton for some considerable time. He was well-known and was a very popular man.

"The attack on Daniel can only be described as despicable. At the time that his flat was set on fire he was still alive - he must have suffered a painful and extremely frightening death.

"Someone out there knows what happened and I don't know how they can live with this well-liked man's death on their conscience."

On the night of the murder, the fire brigade was called to a blaze at the flats at 3.40am.

When the flames were extinguished, the body of Mr McFadden was discovered.

A post mortem examination revealed that the pensioner had died as a result of smoke inhalation.

The examination also revealed that he had been the subject of a serious assault and had suffered severe head injuries.

A murder investigation was launched and an incident room was set up at Castle Street Police Station in Bolton.

Throughout the investigation more than 3,000 people have been interviewed and a number of lines of inquiry have been pursued.

"It is now 10 years since this tragic incident and I would like to make it known that Greater Manchester Police will continue to work on this investigation in an attempt to track down and bring to justice whoever is responsible," said Det Supt Foster.

"There is potential for forensic examination in this case that would not have been possible 10 years ago."

An inquest into the death, held in 1999, heard that the retired labourer had been badly beaten around the head with what is believed to have been a hammer.

Three 'D' shaped lacerations were discovered on his skull which had been severely fractured. He had also sustained a broken jaw and fractured right cheek bone.

Former Bolton Coroner Martin Coppel heard evidence from Home Office pathologist William Lawlor, who suggested the blaze was sparked to destroy evidence which could have led to the killer.

Mr McFadden was a well-liked pensioner, described by friends and relatives as "a perfect gentleman".

He spent the last hours of his life drinking with friends in the former Funny's pub in Chorley Old Road, and was last seen alive walking home shortly after closing time.

One Mere Gardens resident, who asked not to be named, said: "I remember that night and I remember the fire. Danny had been to the local pub. There were rumours he had been talking about how he had a bit of money back in Ireland. I think somebody followed him home, or befriended him, and then they did what they did."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Major Incident Team on 0161 856 5860 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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